Substance Use Therapy

The Bigger Issue

Some teens who have struggled emotionally and socially have turned to drugs in an attempt to solve their problems. However, this inevitably creates more difficulties in the aftermath and often involves the forfeiting of healthy family relationships, education, friendships, and overall well-being. Whether a drug problem starts with poor coping skills or through self-medication for depression or anxiety, it is an obstacle that merits close individual attention. This is where Vista Dimple Dell steps in.

Not every student at Vista struggles with drug and alcohol dependence. Those that do, however, will benefit from robust individualized support provided by full-time substance use therapists. Anchored by strong therapeutic relationships with these clinicians, students will engage in cognitive based assignments on topics such as triggers, addictive patterns, coping skills, self-empowerment and value discrepancy.

Our Model

Vista employs fully-licensed substance abuse professionals. These individuals specifically target root problems and sort through the obstacles that have contributed to drug use. Upon admission to the program this professional - in tandem with the primary therapist, full time psychiatrist, and prior psychological testing - will help determine the level of substance abuse that is to be addressed in therapy.

“Substance use disorders occur in a broad range of severity, from mild to severe, with severity based on the number of symptom criteria endorsed. As a general estimate of severity, a mild substance use disorder is suggested by the presence of two or three symptoms, moderate by four to five symptoms, and severe by six or more symptoms. Changing severity across time is also reflected by reductions or increases in the frequency and/or dose of substance use, as assessed by the individual’s own report, report of knowledgeable others, clinician’s observations, and biological testing. The following course specifiers and descriptive features specifiers are also available for substance use disorders: ‘in early remission,’ ‘in sustained remission,’ ‘on maintenance therapy,’ and ‘in a controlled environment.’ Definitions of each are provided within respective criteria sets.” - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, p. 484

Substance use therapists at Vista meet once weekly with students meeting criteria for moderate and severe substance use disorders. This is a 1-hour individual therapy session that is provided in addition to other regularly scheduled therapy hours. Students will have the opportunity to attend 12 Step meetings in the neighboring community and will participate in frequent service outings as well. As needed, substance use therapists may also request to occasionally join family therapy sessions for some added support in addressing topics on drug and alcohol dependence.

For those meeting criteria for mild substance use disorders, drug and alcohol related therapy will occur within the services being provided by the student’s primary therapist at Vista.


While at Vista there will be an opportunity for students to engage in community based volunteering. Students will help out at the local Salvation Army food bank as well as participate in both the Red Kettle and Angel Tree fundraisers during the holidays. Other volunteer opportunities include: trail maintenance, homeless outreach, refugee services, and volunteering at various non profit organizations. We feel that volunteering is important, as it fosters community and helps build confidence in self, all the while helping meet the needs of others.